Actors in awards spotlight share war stories

Thu Dec 11, 2008 3:26am EST
 
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By Matthew Belloni

LOS ANGELES (Hollywood Reporter) - From riding the open range to traveling in the shoes of infamous political figures, this awards season's most buzzed-about performers have logged a lot of mileage this year.

Six actors -- Josh Brolin ("W.," "Milk"), Benicio Del Toro ("Che"), Ed Harris ("Appaloosa"), Hugh Jackman ("Australia"), Richard Jenkins ("The Visitor") and Mickey Rourke ("The Wrestler") -- recently gathered to discuss portraying real people on film, bringing their work home with them and how to handle a fight with a director.

THE HOLLYWOOD REPORTER: WHAT HAS SURPRISED YOU MOST ABOUT

BEING AN ACTOR?

Ed Harris: As much as you prepare, or as much as you do your research, the actual doing is what is really enlightening and where the surprises come. It's like an unzipping. You pull yourself apart and discover what is inside. I hate working with some actors, none of whom are here at the moment, where it is so plotted out that there are no surprises. It is so plotted out that it is always the same. It is very mannered. Technique is great, but you have to be able to let go and see what is in there hiding away.

Richard Jenkins: I'm not being cute about this -- I'm surprised that I can make a living out of this. But having said that, being able to not censor yourself and let yourself go is a technique in itself. It's a scary thing.

Hugh Jackman: I was just doing ADR (additional dialogue recording) the other day, which I find tough and draining, and I found myself engaged, loving it. Making believe in this dark room with a microphone, watching myself on the screen, I was thinking that it couldn't be more odd. Yet the challenge of making him real and present and to make that character live in the voice, I thought, what kind of job at age 40 still kind of turns you on?

Harris: You make a film and you go around and do interviews and s--t. Pardon -- my publicist said watch your language. It's true for all of us. You're acting, and the process of doing it informs your life as much as your life is informing your process. All of your senses are f---ing alive.   Continued...

 
<p>Actors Nicole Kidman and Hugh Jackman arrive for the premiere of the film "Australia" in Madrid December 2, 2008. REUTERS/Juan Medina</p>